April 2, 2020
It’s day 18 of WFH (though if you ask Courtney, she’ll say it’s day 4,692), and I’m finally ready to write this post. The world looks a lot different right now than it did last week, last month, and last year. It’s hard for me to even wrap my head around the fact that I was on a flight to NYC for the Female Founder Collective 2020 Workshop not even 30 days ago (flying…what’s that?!). But here we are.
Just like the super contagious coronavirus, there’s an equally contagious fear going around. I see it both on a professional and a personal level. And it takes a tremendous amount of work on a near moment-to-moment basis not to catch it myself. It’s the fear of the unknown that’s been waking me up at 1am since we were given our stay at home orders here in Colorado. And an incessant desire to try to control this uncontrollable situation. But this isn’t a new feeling. I already live here.
If you know me personally, you’re well aware (because I was inspired to tell everyone) that in 2019 I spent a good amount of time, energy, and resources working on myself — and more specifically, how I think. I restarted 1:1 work with my incredible business coach, Lyn Christian, who helped me transform how I lead from a “tell” to an “ask” style. I listened to all the podcasts, from Kara Loewentheil’s UnF*ck Your Brain to WorkLife with Adam Grant. I read (or read snippets of, let’s be honest) books like Super Attractor from Gabrielle Bernstein, The Law of Divine Compensation from Marianne Williamson, and Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch by Curt Coffman and Kathie Sorensen. I observed — myself and others — a lot. I made thought work an everyday thing, which meant that I not only had to develop strategies for myself when I found myself going down the fear path (I am a reformed catastrophizer), but I had to hold myself accountable for actually doing them. Gratitude changed a lot for me, and focusing on what I had instead of what I didn’t have created a massive internal shift. What I learned from everything is that it all starts in my mind, so the best thing that I could for myself was manage it. Now while I’m still very much a work in progress and each day ebbs and flows, all the work that I did last year is helping me cope with our current situation, the changes in my business, and the state of the world.
Now I’m not going to sugarcoat it. COVID-19 has presented tremendous challenges. I’ll spare you from the list, but these are the things that are waking me (and I’m certain most, if not all, of my fellow small business owners) up at 1am every night. But COVID-19 has also brought along with it a plethora of benefits. Yes, I said that. It’s required me to be more innovative, imaginative, strategic, nimble, hopeful, and to live in my body (because your girl loves living in her head). It’s forced me outside of my comfort zone on a daily basis (I’d prefer to do this less frequently). It’s asked me to rip down the curtain and become way more vulnerable (a la Brené Brown). And you know what’s happening? Amazing things. In business, we’ve achieved a whole new level of productivity, creativity, connectivity, and community. It’s made way for a different kind of success — one that’s more personal and meaningful. I’m growing and changing personally, too. And as I reflect on it right now in this very moment, I’m liking what I see. Funny how that works, right? Several years ago we worked with the now shuttered NERD Skincare brand to launch their anti-aging line, and a key ingredient in the products were stem cells from a flower that was harvested in the Arctic. I keep thinking about that flower. And how it grew in spite of its environment. In spite of its circumstances. In spite of everything working against it. I am that flower. You are that flower. We are that flower.
My intention for writing this post is to get real about life in the time of coronavirus, but moreover, to share how I’m stepping up to the plate to meet it. I’ve been keeping a running list on my phone of the benefits of corona (don’t judge), and I’m seeing a pretty obvious trend: the gift of transformation and an opportunity to transcend. Can you see it, too? Do you feel it, too?
Sending you a virtual hug as you weather this storm. Remember you’re not alone. You’re strong enough to make it through this. We all are. I look forward to seeing you on the other side.
Allyson Conklin is ACPR’s founder. Her morning self-care routine includes a cup of coffee with a mix of heavy cream and half & half, workout (either strength training or a cardio walk), dry brushing, burst of cold water at the end of her shower, and gua sha with her favorite clean facial oil.